Zarif made the remarks after meeting his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent on the first leg of his visit to four Central Asian nations.
“Today, we discussed economic, political and cultural relations, and the strengthening and expanding of these ties between Iran and Uzbekistan, as well as regional cooperation, especially with regard to peace in Afghanistan,” Zarif told reporters on his meeting with Kamilov, according to Press TV.
“Our very long common history further expands the basis for friendship between the two nations,” he added.
Zarif also voiced hope that the two sides would be able to expand bilateral ties.
Kamilov called for cooperation between Uzbekistan and Iran in various fields including transportation and the use of Iranian port capacities in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
Later in the day, Zarif met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
In the meeting, Zarif emphasized Iran’s interest in developing cooperation with Uzbekistan within the framework of the existing capacities.
Mirziyoyev stressed the need to hold the 14th round of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between the two countries as soon as possible.
During his visit to Uzbekistan, Zarif is expected to discuss the current bilateral cooperation in political, economic, investment, transportation, logistics areas as well as other issues of mutual interests.
The top diplomat is also scheduled to visit Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to meet with officials of those countries.
Zarif’s Central Asia tour, from April 5 to 8, will focus on bilateral and regional cooperation with the four countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced on Friday.
“Enhancing ties with Central Asia, a region of civilizational, historical & cultural commonalities, has always been among #Iran's top priorities,” Khatibzadeh said via Twitter.
The foreign minister also traveled to Tajikistan on March 28 in order to exchange views with Tajik officials on bilateral ties and to participate at the ninth session of the Heart of Asia platform that focused on Afghanistan.
While in Dushanbe, Zarif held talks with the Tajik and Afghan presidents and foreign ministers as well as foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan and Turkey.